Turkey

At the Nato summit of Istanbul in 2004, the former president of France Jacques Chirac (with some other leaders of the EU) met the Turkish prime minister Mr Erdoğan. He shook hands with him and he said: “At the beginning you (the AKP) made us afraid, but your statements reassured us”.

Even though I am Socialist (I do support the CHP and I’m glad that Deniz Baykal resigned) I have to objectively underline that the AKP is not a so-called anti-secular party. The AKP doesn’t make me afraid.

The AKP is a kind of cocktail which includes politicians of various Turkish political parties: these politicians deserted their party 8 years ago in order to support Mr Erdoğan for their own interest. There are some former islamists, there are some former members of the CHP, and also some former members of the MHP, and yet no one says that the AKP is a far right (or a socialist) party. Moreover they support the Kurdish opening! However the extremists who remained within the MHP are against the Kurdish opening. That proves once more that almost all the politicians act in their interest. Another example: Mr Lellouche always supported Turkey’s EU membership before he accepted to be the puppet of the EU affairs of Mr Sarkozy. Mr Lellouche supported Turkey a few years ago on the french TV channel France 5 and he said in conclusion: “Every year we make 10 000 french speakers at Istanbul”. Amazing, isn’t it?

Instead of persisting in claiming that the AKP is an anti-secular political party, many journalists of the EU should at first deal with the political parties of the christian democrats. Let’s remind that the christian democrats wanted the constitution of the EU to include this: “The roots of Europe is Christendom”. But they fortunately failed. Was not that an anti-secular move? Even the choice of their name is revealing, whereas in Turkey it’s forbidden to mix religion and politics.

And the journalists of the EU should deal with Greece too. Don’t the religious Greek leaders influence some Greek politicians? The Greek church is quite powerful. Even in south Cyprus.

Barack Obama is of those who are used to saying: “God bless America”. On the Amercian notes we can read: “In God we trust”. Well is that secularism? But no one is shocked. On the Turkish notes there is no reference to religion, and we can see Atatürk. But many journalists prefer attacking Turkey or the AKP. Why? Because having prejudices towards Turkey is in fashion.

But there are objective European and American journalists who name the AKP “muslim conservatives” (by the way, some biased or anti-Turkey journalists name it “islamist” in order to make people afraid. Well there’s a huge difference between “islamist” and “islamic”). But Mr Erdoğan objects even to “muslim conservatives”. The Turkish prime minister answered to a European journalist: “We consider ourselves as conservative democrats”. So the AKP itself states that it does not accept to be called “muslim conservatives”. But that’s not good for many lobbies full of hatred which aim at propagating fear and at washing the citizens’ brain.

If someone believes in God, they believe for themselves, that’s why religion must remain in the private sphere. As for Mr Erdoğan, he believes in God and he’s practising. So what?

The AKP doesn’t make me worried. But I’m against the headscarf at schools and at universities. Secularism enables everybody to get dressed as they wish in the street or in the supermarkets, but university is not a place where one can express in an indecent way their religious belonging. It’s possible in the USA but not in Turkey.

Rather than focusing on Mr Erdoğan and the AKP, let’s remind that Süleyman Demirel (the ninth president of Turkey) opened between 250 and 300 “imam hatip” schools during his political career. Thus, in Turkey every party manipulates religion. And unfortunately the CHP too.

But in the whole world too.

In the EU, the extremists manipulate the citizens and collect their votes with their hatred of Islam which they besides don’t know. As all our main religions, Islam says “Thou shalt not kill”.

In France too religion is manipulated. Mr Sarkozy made a mosque built in Argenteuil. Is he an islamist? No, but he wants to gain more votes for the next presidential (s)elections, that’s why he sent his puppet Mr Fillon for the opening of that mosque. And of course the media were there for that propaganda.

Building mosques doesn’t mean being islamist, neither in Turkey nor in France.

So religion is manipulated by the politicians in every country.

We must admit that if Turkey is experiencing a political stability for 8 years, which was vital for the current virtuous circle, it’s thanks to Mr Erdoğan. I have to be fair towards the AKP. Well the Turkish translation for “acupuncture” is “akupunktur”. In my opinion what the AKP achieved in Turkey is acupuncture, in a way AKP means “AKuPunktur”, and you will understand why with these examples:

at first Mr Erdoğan courageously succeeded in dismantling loads of mafia organizations. Another exemple: the Turkish exports rose from $ 36 billion in 2002 to nearly $ 135 billion in 2008. Lots of hospitals and schools as well as several universities were built, especially in the east of Turkey. Thousands of kilometres of high ways were built throughout the country. The constitution is being improved. And two days ago Turkey announced that its economy grew hugely: + 11.7 %!

Last but not least, it’s thanks to Mr Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that the negotiations between Turkey and the EU started in 2005. In 2004, some EU politicans told him that the negotiations would begin only if Turkey recognizes the Greek Cypriot government. He immediately left the table. Then these politicians were afraid and they sent some people to bring him back. That is crystal clear: Mr Erdoğan emphasized that Turkey will never sacrifice the Turkish Cypriots for the EU membership.

Thus we have to be

objective with Mr Erdoğan: he achieved within 8 years what have not been achieved for 50 years. So it will be hard for the CHP to defeat the AKP next year. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s ideas are very positive, he suggested socialist projects.

But what annoys me is that he destroys the credibility of his projects because of several mistakes. The last one is the following: he ludicrously criticized a picture of Mr Erdoğan while he was at the Iraqi frontier. He ought to not make Mr Baykal’s mistakes.

There are not many women in Turkish politics, but I hope that it will change. Both as a Turkish and French citizen, I have a complex about Sweden and Finland. These countries teach a lesson to many countries of the EU such as France. For instance the Finns elected a woman president. For instance the Swedish women are very involved within their governments. France is in a better situation than Turkey, but compared with Sweden and Finland, it is far from being a good example.

I remember very well that some pro-Sarkozy French journalists and a few politicians harshly insulted the former Socialist candidate Ségolène Royal before the French presidential elections. That was disgraceful. Moreover, I remember an advert on television about a French cheese which targeted indirectly Ségolène Royal: “Elle n’a qu’à bien se tenir” (“She has to behave herself”). I was indignant. What a disgraceful level.

In my opinion, if Mr Sarkozy was elected, it’s because he had a woman as opponent. Otherwise the French citizens would not have voted for him. Because he is not credible at all. The French didn’t want of a woman as president. Yes even in France too people are misogynous.

Turkey is improving its democracy. Only one woman is currently at the government: the minister of education is Nimet Çubukçu. But I expect to see more women succeeding in Turkish politics.

To conclude, thanks to Atatürk the Turkish women had the right to vote well before the French and Swiss women.

Saygılar,

Best regards,

Cem

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